|“I wonder what I should use for the murder weapon?”|
Well, that was altogether more interesting than it had any right to be. Since this was my first exposure to the omnibus format in anime form, I don’t know whether this kind of “digest” ending is typical – but it was a fascinating way to wrap things up
Risa turns out not to be the girl who broke Junichi’s heart two Christmases ago, but the girl who helped that girl break his heart. She told Makihara (said heartbreaking girl) to meet Junichi at the cinema instead of the park, and the rest is history. Risa says she did it because Makihara was planning on breaking up with Junichi in front of her friends for a laugh, but given that Risa’s subsequent behavior points towards “crazed stalker” I’m inclined to be skeptical.
What of that behavior, you ask? Well, she systematically put the kibosh on every relationship Junichi started – beginning with Haruka and ending with Tsukasa – by showing them a fake photo of he and a girlfriend. Again, Risa says she did all this to “protect” Junichi from having his heart broken again. Conveniently, this also resulted in him being single when she finally got around to confessing to him. She does so in a sort of utility closet and says that’s the only place they can meet – yeah, that’s normal. Risa does finally apologize to the other girls and she and Junichi end up the episode as a couple, but if I were him I’d be locking my doors at night.
I’m not sure whether I’d classify Amagami SS as a success or not. Yosuga no Sora did more interesting things with the omnibus format as far as I’m concerned – here, it was a blessing and a curse. With such a literal version of the genre – six arcs of exactly four eps each with no continuity overlap once they begin – some of them are bound to work better than others. The series batted about .500 for me – the Haruka arc was by far the best, but I also enjoyed the Tsukasa And Ai arcs. The Rihoko, Kaoru and Sae arcs did nothing for me whatsoever. Junichi’s fairly radical personality shifts between arcs didn’t help much – while interesting at first, they eventually ended up being a distraction.
|Now THAT’S a Merry Christmas!|
Any series that can produce an episode as great as #3 here – sexy, funny and crisply written – deserves some praise. But the inconsistency drove me batty after a while, to the point where I dropped the show altogether for a while in the middle. I think omnibus can work, but there needs to be more tying the various arcs together (as there was in YnS). The last episode finally did that, but it felt like an omake – totally separate from the reality of the series. Amagami SS is interesting as a curiosity, and has some genuinely nice romantic moments. But taken as a whole, it falls short of the better romance series of the last few years. I’d watch the first arc again just for Haruka – it (and she) was playful, sensual and a little bit daring. There was just too much mediocrity to wade through in the rest of the series for me to recommend it, though.